A few weeks ago Counterpath released a version of their Bria SIP soft phone specifically for the Android platform. This was one of the factors that influenced my purchase of a T-Mobile G2. I’ve had the G2 for a few weeks and have been mostly very pleased with the device. My twitter stream has reflected various experiments using it during recent travels.
Counterpath was good enough to provide a licence for their Bria SIP soft phone which dovetails nicely with my employers OnSIP hosted PBX. As I have been travelling a bit these past few weeks I’ve not made much use of Bria until very recently.
For an in depth look at Bria on Android you should look at the OnSIP site as the staff over there have posted a nicely detailed review. They report some crashing of the application, which has not been my experience but I expect that the user experience varies with hardware platform.
Around my home office, and on my local Wifi, I find that Bria Android Edition is stable and reliable. It seems to handle calling extensions local and remote without any NAT issues.
I find that Bria is useful for calling the PSTN and other people on our hosted PBX. It’s a little less useful for SIP URIs in general as they don’t seem to be consistently supported in the OS. Since most people still make calls purely by “phone numbers” Bria remains reasonably functional despite this limitation.
Support for SIP URIs seems to travel hand-in-hand with support for wideband audio. Both are matters that depart from the call pathways of the traditional PSTN. Looking into Counterpath’s support forum that I see that they are planning to address these issues in a future release.
I’d also like to have access to the Bluetooth headset capability. This capability is reported as possible in a future release and for platforms running Android v2.2 or later. Their road map for the application has promise, much of it already having been implemented in the iPhone version of the program.
The question of call quality always comes up, so I decided to address it by offering a short recording. This sample recording was made using Bria on my G2 to call over Wifi to our OnSIP conference bridge. I also has a Polycom Soundpoint IP650 called into the bridge to record the call.
Just for grins, here are waveform and spectrum plots of the recording.
The white line in the energy distribution plot is at 4 KHz. This plot is completely consistent with a normal G.711…aka “Toll Grade”…call to your grandma over a traditional copper pair. As I gather more experience using Bria over T-Mobile’s HSPA+ network I’ll post further observations of its utility over a 3.5G wireless data link.
Within our company the Apple / Android split is now about 50 / 50. On the strength of early experience with Bria iPhone Edition several of my iPhone wielding coworkers purchased Bria and have reported it as being very handy. Now those of us once considered merely “bad apples” can also use Bria on our Android phones.
Offered for only $7.99 via the Android Marketplace Bria is a welcome addition to my G2. Counterpath also offers an optional G.729 license for an additional $8.99. The combination seem like a cost effective way to connect a mobile phone to SIP infrastructure in a nearly seamless manner. I look forward to tracking the growth of the software in the coming months.
P.S. – Just moments after I posted this I noticed that a new release was announced in Counterpath’s support forums.